The German/Vietnamese child of Gustav and Lau Brandt, the girl who would become Mantis was given up to the alien Priests of Pama, a sect of the Kree who believed in the "Celestial Madonna", a legendary being who would give birth to the Celestial Messiah, deemed to be "the most important being in the universe." Excelling in her martial arts studies with the Priests, gaining a heightened control over her physiology in the process, Mantis has her memories erased when she becomes an adult and sent back to earth in order to gain life experience. Becoming a barmaid/prostitute in a Vietnamese bar, she meets the Swordsman, Jacques Duquesne, and accompanies him back to the United States after helping him regain his self-respect. Joining the Avengers alongside him, Mantis soon became involved in many of the team's adventures, motivated partially by her growing sexual interest in the Vision. As it was, Mantis was unaware of the Swordsman's love for her, and only realized (and reciprocated) it during his deathbed confession after being mortally wounded by Kang the Conquerer in his own quest for the Madonna. Shortly thereafter, Mantis discovers that she is, as was suspected, the Celestial Madonna, and leaves Earth with the planet's eldest Cotati in order to give birth to the Celestial Messiah.
Bearing the child, whom she names "Sequoia", Mantis (now calling herself "Mandy Celestine") is compelled to give up the child to the Priests of Pama, joining the Silver Surfer in his adventures shortly thereafter, and even beginning a relationship with the former herald of Galactus. Growing increasingly dissatisfied with her life, particularly after her powers began to alter, Mantis is caught in a massive explosion and presumed dead by the Surfer. In fact, Mantis survives the blast, but the stresses placed upon her in recent years literally cause her to fragment into multiple versions of herself, each bearing a different aspect of her personality and fragmentary portions of her memories. One such portion becomes a member of the West Coast Avengers for a time, before leaving the team to raise her son.
Eventually, Mantis manages to recover and merge all the fragments of her personality, leaving her whole once more in time to help the Avengers stop Thanos from killing her son. During this period, she resumes her pursuit of the Vision, but eventually ceases upon realizing that the connection between the Vision and the Scarlet Witch are genuine and strong, despite their estrangement.
Mantis is a Marvel comic books owned character created by Steve Englehart and Don Heck.
She first appears in Avengers #112 released in 1973. Rather uniquely Mantis is one of few characters that has appeared in other comic book publishers books stories ultimately returning to her original publisher Marvels brand. When Mantis creator Steve Englehart left for DC Comics he was allowed to take the character with her. She would appear in DC comic books as Willow. The character would also appear in Eclipse comics as Lorelei.
Major Story Arcs
Guardians of the Galaxy
Traveling the stars once more, Mantis is imprisoned by the Kree, and remains so until the malevolent techno-organic Phalanx, under the command of Ultron, begin their conquest of the Kree Empire. Drafted into Star-Lord's commando unit, Mantis quickly proves herself to be an effective member of the team, freeing the others alongside Gabriel Vargas, the current bearer of the Captain Universe power, after they are captured by the Phalanx. As the conflict reaches its climax, Mantis and the rest of the team attempt to destroy the Phalanx's Babel Spire, but the mission goes horribly awry when Vargas is killed and Star-Lord is captured. Working together with the rest of the team, they manage to free their leader and heavily damage the Spire, only for Mantis to be badly wounded by Ultron in the final act of the conflict.
Mantis, however, survives her close call with Ultron, and now acts as the therapist and councilor to the new Guardians of the Galaxy team, operating from their base at Knowhere alongside Groot and Cosmo. Mantis has foreseen that the team will be betrayed and killed by one of their own nine months in the future, but resists telling them of this fact, for fear of destabilizing the course of the future.
Mantis' role with the development of the team was more than just offering psychological support, however. It is soon revealed after a terrorist attack on Knowhere by a team of Super-Skrulls that Mantis had actually telepathically 'nudged' the team's members into accepting Peter's plans and joining. Mantis undertook this highly unethical action out of Star-Lord's concerns that the dangers to galactic stability were too great to simply wait for the proposed members to come around. Following this revelation, the majority of the team quit, disgusted with Star-Lord's decision, and Mantis became a full-time field agent alongside Groot, Bug, Rocket Raccoon, Star-Lord and newcomer Major Victory.
War of Kings
After an attack on Knowhere due to some failed negotiations with the Inhumans and the Imperial Guard to stop their War of Kings, one of the Guardians prisoners, Starhawk, escaped captivity. Starhawk brought Mantis and a few other Guardians to her future, which was all but destroyed by a rip in space-time known as the Fault.
Once there, Starhawk finally convinces the Guardians of the threat and tells them that King Black Bolt will be the one to cause the Fault. With their time machine destroyed, their only hope is to send a message back to the past to warn the others. They successfully do so, but not before the Fault consumes the remainder of the universe.
Instead of killing them, this causes the team to be adrift in time. This also causes Mantis to be reverted to a baby. They continue to travel through several time lines before ending up in one controlled by the Magus and the Universal Church of Truth. It is here they are rescued by Kang the Conqueror and taken to his headquarters in Limbo.
Kang uses his abilities to return them all to their normal states, which unfortunately leaves a full grown Mantis in the nude in front of everyone. Kang tells them of Adam's transformation into the Magus and that all futures are in peril. He gives Starlord a Cosmic Cube and sends them back in time to the moment before the transformation.
They are unable to stop Warlock from becoming the Magus and Mantis and Cosmo try to combine their telepathic abilities to assault the Magus. It is ineffective, and Magus kills them both. The Magus is stopped by Starlord, but not before the death of Mantis, Cosmo, Gamora, Phyla, Major Victory and Adam Warlock.
But the Magus had only created the illusion of their deaths, taking their souls back to Sacrosanct and remaking them as his prisoners. While attempting to convert them, Mantis organized them as was able to use her abilities to get Phyla back under control of her body. They soon escaped, but not before Phyla's death at the hands of a newly resurrected Thanos. With Cosmo and Moondragon's help (and a Cosmic Cube), they were able to capture Thanos and keep him under control for a short time.
Powers and Abilities
Mantis also known as the Celestial Madonna, and by that title trained by the Priests of Pama, aliens of Kree origin. Intense and vigorous training under the Priests of Pana, Mantis had learned to develop "complete control" over her bodily functions and physiology, which essentially granted enhanced agility, reflexes, speed, strength stamina and higher than usual control over her nervous system blood flow, breathing and respiration. Furthermore she is capable of willing herself to recuperate quickly after being injured.
Mantis also has extraordinary ability in the martial arts that have been developed and perfected over thousands of years by the Priests of Pama. These fighting methods place particular emphasis on the manipulation of pressure points and nerve endings on the bodies of one's opponents. Thus, by knowing the right areas of the body to strike, Mantis could stun even a being as powerful as Thor even though she herself had no superhuman strength.
To travel in space, Mantis projected her consciousness from her body, allowing her to travel interplanetary distances. She would recreate a body for herself out of the destination planet’s local vegetation. Her fighting skills remained intact, and her empathic abilities were heightened to a superhuman degree and extended to the planet’s flora and biosphere. She could control the vegetation within her vicinity. Mantis also possesses strong telepathic, telekinetic and pyrokinetic abilities, as most recently demonstrated in the Annihilation: Conquest event, alongside a measure of precognition.
Marvel: War of Heroes
Mantis appears in several cards in the mobile card game Marvel: War of Heroes. Her cards are:
- [Celestial Madonna] Mantis
Mantis was ranked 99th in Comic Buyer's Guide's 100 Sexiest Women in Comics list.